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Nation IN BRIEF : NEW JERSEY

Man Gets Life After Killing His Children

March 25, 1997|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A Hackensack, N.J., jury recommended a life sentence for a Jewish man who said he drugged and suffocated his children because he couldn't allow his ex-wife to raise them as Christians. Attorneys for Avi Kostner, 52, had argued that mental illness had driven him to kill his children. Prosecutors questioned whether Kostner really had psychological problems. Kostner pleaded guilty on Feb. 18, and during the penalty phase, he and described in court how he drugged and suffocated Geri Beth, 12, and Ryan, 10, in June 1994.

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